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Doug Hanson
Professor of Art

  Faculty Profile  

Doug Hanson with renowned potter Shiho Kanzaki in Kyoto, Japan. McConnell funds helped pay for the trip.

My sabbatical last year was the most meaningful of my 32 years at Cornell, and it was largely due to my McConnell Fellowship. The fellowship enabled me to work in a completely new direction late in my Cornell teaching career.

My application was twofold, one creative and the other curricular, but both interconnected. The creative part was to make and fire new ceramic work. Thus, with the grant, I "bought back" one of my courses, giving me additional sabbatical time to redesign and build a 50-cubic-foot shuttle kiln. The kiln now fires in less than 24 hours and the shuttle, with its prestacked shelves, is so easy on my 59-year-old back!

I used the remainder of my McConnell monies to augment a Japan Studies Curriculum Grant. With the help of alumni in Japan, especially Betty Togasaki Shibata '52 and Taku Kawasaki '92, I spent nearly three weeks traveling to important pottery sites and visiting their potters and museums. It was the pottery adventure of my career, and I returned with new ideas for my own work and a workable itinerary for a course in Japan. The first course will be taught during term six of the 2003-04 school year.

It is especially significant to me because the new ceramics facilities in McWethy Hall are due to the generosity of Campbell McConnell '50 and his wife, Marilyn, who of all occupations is a potter. It was an honor to meet them at Family Weekend last fall. They brought dozens of ceramics books and 30 years of Ceramics Monthly for my students and me to use, with the promise of some additional equipment in the future. When I said I could use an assistant to help teach pottery to Cornell parents the next day, Marilyn immediately volunteered, and their granddaughter, first-year student Holly Davis, took pictures of the event for College Communications.

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